Double Edge (1986)

What if your loser dad was gunned down right in front of you because he was such a loser that he was into a mobster for a bunch of money he couldn’t pay back? And what if he was such an epic loser that his fiscal irresponsibility also caused your sweet dear mother to be riddled with bullets why you stood they’re sniveling and pissing yourself? You’d grow up to be a cop on the edge! Duh! And you’d wear giant mirrored sunglasses all the time, even if you were in the office, outside at night or in your own house! Double duh! And you’d also become a ninja. Triple dog duh!

Plenty of action movie snobs out there write Double Edge off as a cheap rip-off of a certain sunglasses wearing Sylvester Stallone cop movie. Even my wife took one look at the VHS cover and asked why I was watching Cobra for the 22nd time! I told her to go back to spending all our money on fancy handbags and leave the savoring of Filipino-lensed action movies with poster art “inspired” by better known movies to an expert. Come on! Why don’t they have a cop on the edge driven by his wife always getting in his face about the kick ass flicks he loves? Freaking mega duh, right?

Luckily for Mark Quinn though he doesn’t suffer the ultimate tragedy and get married. It’s a good thing too because he’s married to his job of blowing up gas stations to stop a robbery at said gas station. You can almost imagine him standing next to the smoldering ruins the next morning, slapping the owner on the back and laughing about how no one will ever try to rob him again. Sure, the evil Captain Donahue cusses him out about his excessive use of arson, but sometimes being identified by dental records is the only thing these street punks understand!

But sometimes the cases are too much, even for a cop who outlines his approach to police work by stating “Out there, Captain, you only have two choices. Either you get them or they get you.” Sure, a cop who is just as emotionally damaged as the people he’s after can torch a gas station to end a hold up, but you can’t really do that to a supermarket when you’re partner’s inside and still be popular around the station house. Enter the Ninja Cop!

Ninja Cop mysteriously appears in the grocery store to slice up the bad guys and leaves only a seal behind. Mark’s partner gives chase, but only finds Mark pretending to nurse a bump on the head in a back room. What’s great about Ninja Cop is that Mark obviously had all his ninja gear in the trunk of his car just in case. But that’s a ninja’s motto right? Be prepared. Or am I thinking about the Boy Scouts?

Captain Donahue doesn’t want to hear any silly-assed crap about a ninja running around the city carving up dirtbags. As he so eloquently put it “the next thing you’re going to be telling me is that Rambo walks into MacDonald’s and Spider-Man busts him for an unlicensed samurai!”

But Ninja Cop also has a heart of gold! Following the example set by the most famous ninja of all, Robin Hood, Ninja Cop busts up something criminal or other and gives the proceeds to a sick woman with two kids! And this after Mark talks her distraught husband into giving himself up after holding a cop hostage at the police department. Crud, is this turning into a Ninja Afterschool special or something? Whatever happened to all that vengeance that’s surely churning in your ninja bowels like so much 14th Century sushi?

Never fear because back when Mark was watching his parents get killed, he saw the killer had a tattoo on his hand! And guess whose heroin operation that Ninja Cop is causing problems for also has some ink on his hand? The diabolical Maraccio! And yes, he’s diabolic because he insists on doing one scene in his Speedos! Come on Ninja Cop, end this insanity!

Ninja Cop gets on Maraccio’s radar once he busts up a transaction at the shipyards. Mark is also on his bad side because he was also going after Maraccio’s guys in his cop identity. One thing you can’t accuse of Mark/Ninja Cop of is letting up on the bad guys!

Maraccio has Mark gassed at his house and taken prisoner. It is there that a double cross is revealed which is great because of all the revenge Ninja Cop will need to get later on for it. But first they spend about a week shooting Mark up with herion until they finally dump him in the street to die! But just then his partner shows up to rescue him! Thank god Metro City only has one street where they dump junkie bodies!

Everything after this point is pretty much my favorite movie ever! From Mark’s hilarious spasms as he tries to kick the heroin, to his training montage, to him staring at his ninja gear and finally having the flashback showing an old ninja taking him under his wing and training him, to his insane murderous rampage in the forest he booby traps that kills all of Maraccio’s men in as heinous ways as possible, to the psychopathic way he systematically wounds Maraccio with knives and throwing stars before finally revealing himself and leaving his sword next to the incapacitated Marrichio suggesting that he commit hari-kari as he walks away into ninja movie legend!

Double Edge is technically quite technically deficient, with dubbing that would make the Italians blush, the laughable way they try to pretend that someplace in the Philippines is a major American city (there’s an American flag in the police station!) and the barely there story that makes no sense (If it takes place in America, who exactly is Mark’s friend exporting herion to? Who the hell is the ninja that materializes to raise Mark? Why does Mark’s partner look like a guy from a homeless shelter?), but is wildly successful because Mark (Romano Kristoff from Angel in the Dark) ably scowls and growls throughout, the menacing and thundering music is like Ninja Cop’s invisible supercool partner and if Ninja Cop doesn’t strictly adhere to the whole stealthy aspect of being a ninja, that can be easily forgiven when he’s standing in the forest firing his wrist grenade launcher at hapless stuntmen!

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